Homeless for the Holidays

Homeless for the Holidays

“Charity is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

~Jane Panitch

Last night I decided to watch a little bit of Hulu. The movie Homeless for the Holidays, starring Matt Moore as Jack Baker (who IMHO resembles Adam Sandler), was up on the popular list, so I went for it.

Spoiler alert:

The Baker family was in trouble financially, and Jack went to the minister to ask for a loan so that his house would not get repossessed by the bank. He mentions the Feed the Needy fund that their local church has every year as a way to dip into some money for the time being.

The minister said:

“We continue to do that year after year more as a way of teaching our children how to give than making an impact in the community. This year, we only raised $72.00″

Throughout my life I always wandered why people stand outside supermarkets and collect money for their causes. To me it seemed counterintuitive to raise money in such an inefficient way, when they could have just gone to work and donated a part of their salary.

However, this movie made me think differently. People might be out there for different reasons, such as raising awareness for the cause, connecting with people in their community, and giving people the opportunity to feel good about giving back.

Selfless Giving

I have to admit that I don’t believe there is such a thing as selfless giving. I think @JoeWaters of SelfishGiving.com would agree with me, when I say that all people contribute and give for their own selfish reasons, and that’s a good thing.

Selfish is not the opposite of Good. In fact, in my opinion, as long as good is coming out of contribution and charity, that it doesn’t matter that people are all doing it for selfish reasons. I should note, that I define selfish as doing something in a way that will somehow benefit oneself.

That doesn’t just include doing something because you’ll profit from in monetarily or because it brings you fame. It can simply mean that it gives you a good feeling, that it helps you fulfill a promise, that it aligns with your values, thoughts about religion or humanity. Even if you do something you don’t want to, it probably means you’re doing it to avoid the feeling of guilt, which is another positive motivator.

Group Giving

Another form of giving that resonates with me, is when go-getters put together events that are fun for the participants. I’ll actually be going to one such event later tonight, which is being put up by my old friend Jane Panitch.

This is what she had to say:

“My goal is to do something really fun, and really different, to bring out people from different crowds and different areas, who are from the same heritage but scattered because they stay away from the negative stereotypes of cultural events. I try to come up with something that is interesting and unique that will make it almost impossible to not come out, and the extra push of feeling that you’re giving back at the same time, makes them feel like they’re a part of something that can be a huge help. The goal is not only to raise the money, but of giving back, and not thinking that giving back is some kind of awful unpleasant labor. As long as everyone is on the same page it can be amazing and very effective.”

I think she’s doing a great thing, and I’m very proud of her. She had a touching moment when visiting a woman’s shelter in Israel, that made her realize that people out there need help, and that her unique set of talents can be used to help people. Now she is known for giving back and putting on great events amongst our community. I can’t wait to see all that she’s going to accomplish through her life.

Not everyone has to be a leader, or take massive action, in order to contribute. That’s because there are already a lot of great organizations out there, to serve different needs throughout the world. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a competition, one could join an already existing effort, or contribute some of their time and resources.

One site that I admire is VolunteerMatch.org which allows you to find a nearby location to volunteer, based on your interests.

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Image by BlatantNews

I’m always inspired to write, but as you guys know, when it comes to school, I put 150% of my focus there. Finally, during winter break, inspiration hit me at the same time as availability, and it feels nice!

Posted by in Character Building | December 23, 2010 | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Print | No comment

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